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Northern Pacific Railroad Company stock certificate issued to and signed by John D. Rockefeller - 1884  

Northern Pacific Railroad Company stock certificate issued to and signed by John D. Rockefeller - 1884

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PRODUCT DESCRIPTION  
Beautifully engraved certificate from the Northern Pacific Railroad Company issued in 1884. This historic document was printed by the National Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of a train by telegraph lines in the countryside and a lower vignette of Fredrick Billings. This item is hand signed by the Company's officers and is over 135 years old..his 100 share stock certificate was issued to and hand signed by John D. Rockefeller on the verso.

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Certificate face and John D. Rockefeller's signature on back

John. D. Rockefeller

John Davison Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 - May 23, 1937) was the guiding force behind the creation and development of the Standard Oil Company, which grew to dominate the oil industry and became one of the first big trusts in the United States, thus engendering much controversy and opposition regarding its business practices and form of organization. Rockefeller also was one of the first major philanthropists in the U.S., establishing several important foundations and donating a total of $540 million to charitable purposes.

Rockefeller was born on farm at Richford, in Tioga County, New York, on July 8, 1839, the second of the six children of William A. and Eliza (Davison) Rockefeller. The family lived in modest circumstances. When he was a boy, the family moved to Moravia and later to Owego, New York, before going west to Ohio in 1853. The Rockefellers bought a house in Strongsville, near Cleveland, and John entered Central High School in Cleveland. While he was a student he rented a room in the city and joined the Erie Street Baptist Church, which later became the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church. Active in its affairs, he became a trustee of the church at the age of 21.

He left high school in 1855 to take a business course at Folsom Mercantile College. He completed the six-month course in three months and, after looking for a job for six weeks, was employed as assistant bookkeeper by Hewitt & Tuttle, a small firm of commission merchants and produce shippers. Rockefeller was not paid until after he had worked there three months, when Hewitt gave him $50 ($3.57 a week) and told him that his salary was being increased to $25 a month. A few months later he became the cashier and bookkeeper.

In 1859, with $1,000 he had saved and another $1,000 borrowed from his father, Rockefeller formed a partnership in the commission business with another young man, Maurice B. Clark. In that same year the first oil well was drilled at Titusville in western Pennsylvania, giving rise to the petroleum industry. Cleveland soon became a major refining center of the booming new industry, and in 1863 Rockefeller and Clark entered the oil business as refiners. Together with a new partner, Samuel Andrews, who had some refining experience, they built and operated an oil refinery under the company name of Andrews, Clark & Co. The firm also continued in the commission business but in 1865 the partners, now five in number, disagreed about the management of their business affairs and decided to sell the refinery to whoever amongst them bid the highest. Rockefeller bought it for $72,500, sold out his other interests and, with Andrews, formed Rockefeller & Andrews.


On July 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress creating the Northern Pacific Railroad Company. It would have its eastern terminus at Lake Superior and its western terminus at Puget Sound. Much of its route was to follow the route of the famed 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition across the unchartered West. Financing for the new railroad did not come about for several years, and it was not until 1870 that groundbreaking took place near Duluth, Minnesota. First stirrings of activity on the west end of the projected transcontinental began at about the same time. By 1883, only 300 miles remained between the two railheads.

Jay Cooke at first managed the enterprise, but on September 18, 1873, the Northern Pacific and Jay Cooke were crushed by the Financial Panic of 1873. Things did not improve in 1874, with no credit available and no cash to continue construction. The Railroad was reorganized by Fredrick Billings in 1876 and by early 1877 it began to slowly move forward. By the end of 1878, the only construction being performed was inconsequential preparation work for the years ahead.

Under the leadership of Henry Villard, the Northern Pacific was opened in 1883 from Ashland, Wis., to Portland, Oreg. The company became the Northern Pacific Railway in 1896. In 1901 there was a spectacular financial contest between the interests of E. H. Harriman and those of James Hill and J. P. Morgan for control of the Northern Pacific. The Hill-Morgan group secured control, but an agreement between the two groups resulted in the organization of the Northern Securities Company, a giant holding company that controlled the Northern Pacific, the Great Northern, and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. When the trust was dissolved (1904) as a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Hill-Morgan interests came into control of the Northern Pacific. In spite of the breakup of the Northern Securities Company, a proposal for a very similar merger was made by a consultant for the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1921. The plan was never acted upon, but 40 years later the Northern Pacific again asked for permission to merge with the Great Northern and the Burlington lines. Finally, in 1970 the Supreme Court approved the consolidation. The merged company became the Burlington Northern Railroad, which in 1995 merged with the Santa Fe line to form the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway .

History from Wikipedia and OldCompany.com (old stock certificate research service)

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